The Royal Ontario Museum

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JUNE 7, 2018

In all honesty I had no plans to include my trip to the ROM on the blog, mainly because if you live in the GTA chances are you’ve been to the museum more then once in grade school on a class trip. We all know that the Egyptian and Dinosaur exhibits are the best. Also the Bat Cave was hella scarier as a kid then it is now, I’m positive it’s been changed since we were kids though. I felt compelled to include my ROM trip on the blog for one specific exhibit that is only their temporarily. It’s an extremely important exhibit I think everyone needs to try and see before it’s gone. The sole purpose of this ROM excursion was to see the Viking Exhibit, hand up if you love the show Vikings? Hello, Ragnar Lothbrok. Spoiler, Ragnar was not at the exhibit. After exploring the Viking exhibit and a few others my friend had read about an exhibit called The Evidence Room. We both assumed it was some sort of police forensic exhibit, which was kind of exciting because I love crime shows and true crime documentaries. As we arrived at the exhibit a lovely ROM worker, actually she may have even been a volunteer, named Robin was announcing she was starting a small tour of the exhibit in 5 minutes. Excellent! We sped walked as we followed her through the exhibit to the meeting point for the start of the tour. In that quick walk through I noticed the exhibit was all white and looked more like what I imagined a contemporary art exhibit would look like. All the walls were covered in stark white plaster, there was a plaster white door almost in the middle of the room and off to one side of the room was a plaster ladder display and hatch window. 

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When Robin started talking about a trial in 2000 by a Holocaust denier against an author by the name of Deborah Lipstadt, I was super confused. I was still under the impression this was some sort of police forensic exhibit. Boy, was I super wrong. This Holocaust denier sued Deborah for slander about his belief that Auschwitz-Birkenau wasn’t a death camp but a labour camp. Deborah had called him out on his BS in a book she wrote. This is where we were then “introduced” to Waterloo Professor Robert Jan van Pelt, who was an expert witness against the denier and helped Deborah win the case. The Professor, through Auschwitz architectural blueprints was able to prove that Auschwitz was from the get go, designed as a death camp and never as a labourer camp. The Evidence Room is those key blueprints used in the trial, enlarged and made out of plaster. The blueprints for the exhibit were deliberately created in plaster to convey the cold manner in which the Nazi’s murdered thousands of Jews at a time. A process that took maybe a total of 15 minutes in the Auschwitz gas chambers. 1000 innocent lives lost in less then 15 minutes. It was chilling to be standing next to a plaster replica door to one of the chambers while listening to Robin talk. A door that only had a handle and locks on one side of it. A door that had a protective cover over the small glass window to stop the innocent from breaking the glass when being gassed. So much of this exhibit gave me goosebumps. 

 The front of the door, or the Nazi side. 

The front of the door, or the Nazi side. 

 The interior part of the door. 

The interior part of the door. 

This exhibit could really be a blink and you miss it, which is why I felt so strongly about including it on the blog. More importantly I felt the need to share it because of something Robin said to my friend and I when we were chit chatting with her after the tour. Robin’s friend was a child in the war and a survivor of the Holocaust. His entire family was murdered by the Nazi’s, but before his father was murdered he told his son to never stop telling his story. As the years go by there are and will be less survivors to continue telling this story, it will be exhibits like this one, that continue telling the story. 

This exhibit runs until September 3rd, 2018. 

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